Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I really needed to be on Worst Cooks because of my background and personality. I grew up a Hasidic Jew, so I was limited to eating only strictly kosher foods. While the community I grew up in did a reasonable job (considering the limited ingredients available) in presenting edible food, in no way did it prepare me for the range of food options I was presented with when I entered the normal secular world. Additionally, I have a childish palette that prefers chicken fingers and french fries. Combine all this with a healthy dose of A.D.D. and sprinkle in some A.D.H.D. for good measure and you can understand the horror that is me in the kitchen. I would love nothing more than to overcome my idiotic food issues and confront my fears of strange foods. My relationship and social interactions literally depend on it.
What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Anne?
The turning point for me in boot camp was when it Chef Anne finally got it through my thick skull that I can have fun in the kitchen without needing to resort to my usual shenanigans. Preparing food and adjusting recipes can incorporate all of a person’s creative energies without the need to be a comedian or clown. Focusing my positive energies on producing restaurant quality meals is a great challenge and the results are a lot more rewarding than the laughs I know I can get elsewhere. Bottom line: if you’re having fun in the kitchen, the food will reflect that.
What did you take away from the experience?
It sounds quite cliche, but this experience was really life-altering. Cooking, and food in general, is such an important part of our lives and having confidence in preparing delicious meals changes you in so many ways. I am an extremely extroverted and social person, and making meals and preparing dinners is something that I love doing routinely. I have very little patience at restaurants and always preferred to eat at home, but ordering in was usually the method employed in the past. Being able to now sit around and entertain and chat while preparing food is a wonderful aspect of hosting. When my girlfriend comes home after a long day’s work, she can rest while watching me cook for her. This is something I cherish and find cathartic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still fun and loud, but it’s a lot more tolerable when I’m producing great results.